Volcano Jungle Beach of Costa Rica
Experience the best of Costa Rica with this 8-Day/7-Night Volcano-Jungle-Beach vacation in Costa Rica! Spend time in the three most sought-after areas of this diverse country! Get your adrenaline pumping at the Arenal Volcano with rafting and canyoning. Then, see the Monteverde cloud forest and finish off your vacation with a fun visit to the beach at Playa Samara having plenty of time to try ocean activities like stand up paddling and snorkeling!
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Costa Rica Weekend Warrior in Arenal
San Jose - Arenal Volcano
Starting at $599
Do the best adventures in Costa Rica every waking moment of these 4 days and 3 nights in Costa Rica on the Weekend Warrior Escape! Explore the wilderness of Arenal Costa Rica on this unforgettable all-inclusive Costa Rica vacation package! Spend your days white water rafting, rappelling down tropical waterfalls, hiking, kayaking and soaking in relaxing hot springs heated by the volcano! The perfect vacation for couples, groups of friends - and even adventurous families!
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Costa Rica Pure Adrenaline Tour
Arenal - Monteverde - Playa Samara
Starting at $975
Get your adrenaline pumping in tropical paradise! Costa Rica is a natural playground because of its rushing rivers, vast coastlines, lush rainforest, tropical waterfalls and fascinating volcanoes. Rappel down waterfalls and mountain bike through rough & tough terrain at the Arenal Volcano. Head to the Monteverde Cloud Forest by boat to experience a zipline adventure of a lifetime! Finish off this exciting vacation with a few days at the beach with opportunities to try stand up paddling or ocean kayaking!
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Doing what you love in Costa Rica - Getting to know Nature Guide Milton Muñoz
by Christine Krishnan
Every day I try to learn something new about someone on our Team Desafio. Chats around the coffee maker or lunch time reveal fascinating tidbits about the lives of the people in our company who are more like family to us.
I love to hear news about Hector's new baby, Karina's engagement, Socorro's niece, Danny's biking adventures in Cartago, Tauherth's discovery of a new guide book with excellent details on Costa Rican history that he looks forward to sharing with clients. There's always something to catch up on.
Today I got to know Milton Muñoz a little better. Milton hails from the the small border town of Golfito in the Osa Peninsula -- considered the last frontier of Costa Rica. He now lives nearly 500 kilometers from home on the completely other side of Costa Rica in La Fortuna, San Carlos near the Arenal Volcano.
We are traveling to some rugged parts of Guanacaste to mark some running routes for a group of ultra-marathon runners who want us to show them the best places to run in Costa Rica. Milton is a professional nature guide who happens to be an avid runner with a bunch of adventure race medals and trophies under his belt.
I start with a pretty banal question as I turn on the radio and start driving: "So, Milton, want kind of music do you like?" Turns out we have something in common. Ska music. Mexican Ska music. El Gran Silencio is his choice, especially for when he goes running. Mine is Kung Fu Monkeys. I make a note to self to download more ska music -- like local Costa Rican ska band Percance because I had forgotten how much I like ska.
I then ask Milton to tell me about how he became a nature and adventure guide, how he found his way all the way to rural San Carlos and what it's like being a top athlete in our little farming and touristic community.
"Well, one day, a friend invited me to go rafting on the Pacuare River and I heard the bus guide tell us about Costa Rica, the volcanoes, the history, nature," Milton recalled in nearly-perfectly-spoken English. "It was then I realized I wanted to be a nature and adventure guide, so I moved closer to San Jose, studied hard, got some good training and now five years later, here I am doing what I love to do."
I glanced over and noticed the big smile on Milton's face. I could tell he is doing what he loves because the rest of the drive I had with him revolved around stories of the trips he has done with Desafio showing clients around Costa Rica -- taking our clients hiking, biking, kayaking and more.
By the time we arrived to the hilly, mountainous area of Tierras Morenas in Guanacaste to scout the running route, I certainly felt I learned something new about Milton. I already knew he was a great runner, but it was fulfilling for me to see him in his element, doing something he loves to do, and even humming his favorite ska music along the way.
Learn more about our Costa Rica Running Vacations and other Costa Rica Health and Wellness itineraries and events.
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One of my favorite things to do in La Fortuna is to go on bike rides. There are so many places to explore around this amazing area; it’s impossible to get bored. When I ride my bike, I look at the landscape and I thank God for giving us such an amazing paradise. You can see the Arenal Volcano, Arenal Lake, and the rain forest at the same time, which makes the trip even more exiting.
Going mountain biking allows you to get in touch with nature, explore local towns, and meet new people, as well as discover unbelievable trails within the rain forest and observe native animals and wildlife. Most of the time you see monkeys, birds, lizards, and even snakes, so you always have to be aware of any movement outside or inside the trails. Now you know one of my favorite things to do.
For example, on my last day off, I went biking to one of the rural to towns to visit a friend and they were having a local festival where they organize and offer Costa Rican dishes, games, shows and more. I really like to spend my days involved in this kind of activity and it’s something I’d recommend to anyone.
Waking up early in the morning and seeing the volcano clearly inspires you to grab your bike and go for a ride. It’s a really hot area and the humidity is very high, so you have to be really prepared but it’s really worth it.
One of the good things about mountain biking is that you always meet new people who like the same sport you do, so you are never alone. Also, while you are in local towns and you stop for a break, there is always a nice person willing to offer you water, food, a nice talk, help if you need it, or a ride (even if you don’t need it).
Practicing this kind of sport not only helps your well-being, but it also allows you to clear your mind and think about your personal issues without any stress. Being in nature, outside of the city, with spectacular views, watching local people working in an old-fashion way, and, most importantly, seeing kids playing the games that you played as a child is something really inexplicable.
The feeling of being outside and practicing a sport is just amazing, but just imagine doing that with a huge volcano in front of you, or while watching a monkey or a snake while you take a break—that’s what really makes the town of La Fortuna the best place ever.
Then there’s the countryside: cows, dogs, old cars, goats, horses, dairy farms. They are very unique to this part of the country because they preserve the old culture and they make you feel like you are in the past.
You really have to try it if you really want to feel it. It will take you to another place and it will give you the indescribable sensation of doing a healthy activity in paradise.
Are you up to the adventure?
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By: Greg Reeser
My favorite tour is the Desafio Gravity Falls Extreme Combo because it includes three of the most fun activities there are to do in Costa Rica (canyoneering, mountain biking, and rafting).
What better way to start this combo tour off than with Gravity Falls? This gorgeous canyon in the middle of the rainforest reminds me of movie scenes from the past (take your pick of Jurassic Park, Romancing the Stone, or the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark) and besides it’s incredible beauty, the fact that you won’t see any other humans (except the others doing the tour with you, of course) make it a really special place. To get down into the canyon you need to do a 140 foot rappel next to a roaring waterfall, probably not your cup of tea if you have a fear of heights, but if you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping experience in the jungle, this is it. Then it’s time for a series of six jumps into the crystal-clear, bubbling waters of the Rio La Danta as you make your way down the canyon. Some of the guides like to do a mid-air flip when they jump and if you like, they’ll show you how to do it, too (don’t worry, the life jacket you’ll be wearing will help mitigate the sting if you end up landing on your belly). Half way down the canyon you’ll do an aided climb of about 30 meters up the canyon wall before rappelling back down to the riverbed. This is followed by a Tarzan swing and a few technical jumps before you reach the final, biggest, jump of 25 feet. If you’ve already got some cliff jumping experience this will be one of the highlights of the tour and if you’re more of a newbie, it’s better to jump as soon as you get to cliff’s edge (the longer you stand and look at the distance the more likely you will chicken out). Now it’s time to leave the canyon but before you get on the bikes you’ll have the chance to fuel up with some delicious tropical fruits.
There are few places as peaceful as the Costa Rican countryside and one of the most enjoyable aspects of the ride from Gravity Falls to the river is listening to the sounds of the birds as you ride. And who knows, you may pass a friendly campesino along the way (wave at her/him, I guarantee they’ll wave back).
Growing up in the Western United States, I’ve always associated a clear mountain river with ice cold, hand-numbing water, but (even though the Rio Balsa has some of the clearest, purest water you’ll see—and it comes straight from the mountains!) surprise surprise, it’s 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which means no need for wetsuits and no chattering teeth. One of the best aspects of the upper section of the Rio Balsa is that it is very continuous (i.e. the rapids are close together) so the action never stops. The lower section of the river is flatter and the rapids are further apart but it also gives you more of a chance to spot wildlife as you go (I’ll never forget the time I saw a Sunbittern, one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful birds nesting in a tree on the bank of the Rio Balsa).
Three tours in one day is pretty tough to beat, and if those three tours are canyoneering, mountain biking, and rafting in the Costa Rican rainforest, it’s a no-brainer. The Gravity Falls Extreme Combo is the best tour in Costa Rica, maybe even one of the best in the world.
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